Spot The Signature

Dave Blackwell - alias 'bob'

THE BLOG FORMAT, with its rolling pages, does not lend itself easily to providing readers with a ‘puzzle page’ like traditional newspapers. But this particular brain-teaser might prove to be an exception.

Consider the following three comments. Do you think they are written by the same person? If so, how do you prove it? Is there a common ‘signature’ in all three?

Readers are invited to contribute their thoughts in the comments section, where I will post the answer at 8:00pm this evening.

This is not a game. The skill you gain here could help you determine just who is trying to manipulate your opinion when you join those online threads…

first time i have been on this site as a resident on canvey island the people canvey have voted for canvey island independent party because they dont trust the others .the torys are just in it for there selves and the likes of owners of thorney bay and every other developer who wants to rape canvey. labour have just lost the plot .without a good oppisition canvey would of been finnished victims of corruption and greed . ted its seems you must be a tory at heart as you give the most disgaced tory coucillor bill sharp lots of space

Dave Blackwell's comment

hi, well colin mc tory mclean says his website is a community website why does he stop anyone who is not a tory from making a comment .it is just a properganda website funded by rebbeca harris tory candidate for the genaral election ,with tory boy mclean and tory boy parkin the front men ,canvey people will see through them like a clear glass window .

i think the whole tory party localy are running scared you just cant trust anything they say .they say they beleive in high standards in local goverment took 3 months to suspend one of there councillors who was found gulity of bullying .then rebbeca harris is seen socialsing with the councillor at one of theses secrect society function .if rebeca harris wants people to trust her she going a funny way about it

… I think we can all agree who the actual correspondent is; but the question is: ‘Can I produce sufficient evidence to prevent a libel claim (without relying on ISP servers)?’

CLUE: It will all be revealed in the end .

… (27/03/2010) – Silly Season Is Here

9 Responses

  1. Please sir I know I know ha ha

  2. It’s actually Mac Lean so does that make it Mac Tory? Looking forward to 8pm to find out who the poster is, I can’t think who it could be!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. I have never been too concerned about UK Libel Law. I make sure I check my facts (normally) and that I do not quote others out of context. And, like most freelance journalists, I carry Professional Indemnity Insurance – just in case I should happen to get things wrong.

    It is not so easy for members of the general public though. Especially in an online thread where, in the heat of the moment, you can say something like: ‘Stop hiding behind an alias. I and everyone here know you are Bob Spink.’

    Whoops. Bob would eat you alive (especially if you had got it wrong).

    But you can generally give Bob a hard time if you speculate – or accuse by sarcasm stating a negative, like: ‘And, of course, you are not Bob Spink!’

    But the trouble with our Libel Law, at the moment, is that it can be very expensive to defend your position – and it may still cost you thousands if you win.

    Basically, you can only libel someone if it can be proven that you have injured their reputation. If your target does not have a good reputation anyway, you can argue that you did no further harm. But, currently, it is for you to prove that they have no reputation to defend.

    We are having a little fun here with Dave Blackwell (leader of the Canvey Island Independent Party) whom, I believe, we can show ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ wrote each of those three comments. His signature, if you carefully look for it, is in the extremely unusual way he uses punctuation. In all but one instance he introduces a space before inserting a punctuation mark.

    I, for one, have never seen that particular trait before.

    His personal style – the absence of capital letters; extremely poor spelling; off-topic remarks; and acrid theme directed against the Tories serve to seal the ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ case.

    And if readers were in any further doubt that these are indeed Blackwell’s creations, they only have to consider the two attacks upon innocent Bill Sharp and Spink’s acknowledged strategy to continue slurring him as a means of attacking the Tory council.

    Dave is following his leader’s strategy to a tee, and apparently resorting to an alias for fear of having a libel action brought against him.

    If anyone is considering adopting an alias as a means of hiding their true identity on the Web – you have been watching too much television. Who you are, and what you do, is tracked by your ISP’s server. Moreover, that ISP address is provided to every Website you visit.

    Dave’s ISP address is contained in this blog’s server logs, alongside his comments (should anyone wish to take this matter further).

    The first and last quotes, in which he slurs Bill Sharp, were posted by Dave, on this site, under the alias: ‘bob.’

    The second quotation he has attributed to himself in a comment placed on the CIIP’s blog.

    If, as Blackwell alleges in the second comment, Colin MacLean has been refusing to post comments by CIIP supporters, it could well be (judging by Blackwell’s deniable comments here) that he had no choice in the matter. If they were libellous in nature, like Dave’s here, and here, Colin himself would have been open to a libel action for publishing them. Moreover, had Colin given this as a reason for removing them on the CIIP’s Website, the CIIP would no doubt have launched a libel action against him for impugning their integrity.

    Such are the tactics employed by the political far-left who take a special delight in launching a UK Libel Law ‘sting’ against any opposition. Our MP has demonstrated just how effective that strategy can be.

    Once again, my thanks goes to Cynical Observer, whom has a passion for unmasking online political activists.

    This blog would not be the same without him…

  4. Sorry Ted, but you are wrong to unmask an anonymous writer.

    I host a blog and most comments are written under a pseudonym. Some of these people’s identities I have become aware of, but would never let that be known.

    I never choose anonymity, that is my choice.

    If someone writes something libellous I delete it, much like I delete spam and obvious trolling.

    I urge you to delete this post and keep the writer’s identity a secret.

    • I cannot go along with that, Julian. Not in this case.

      This is not a situation in which the individual wishes to remain anonymous for a legitimate reason – such as whistle-blowing or their own safety. It is a blatant attempt to represent himself as a member of the public, commenting upon himself, in an attempt to mislead my readers and the voters in what is supposed to be a democratic election campaign.

      What is more, the individual is purposely cloaking himself in secrecy in order to smear respectable local politicians and seeks my collusion in doing so.

      Had the comment been from a genuine member of the public, and the email address provided been legitimate, I would have moderated the post and returned it for approval; but, in this particular instance, the post is from a high-ranking politician whose purpose it is to represent residents’ wishes – not to engage in propaganda tactics reminiscent of a communist state.

      As a local politician and party leader, this individual has a democratic right to address the voters whenever he wishes, directly, by simply requesting the press to publish an open letter. And that is the way in which voters expect their representatives to address them: honestly and without prejudice.

      This individual has chosen to address residents dishonestly and with prejudice and, in doing so, reveals himself to be dishonest and prejudiced.

      The incident goes to the heart of local politics on this island and, for that reason, is most certainly in the public interest.

    • Hi Julian.
      I do agree with you after all some of the names listed on all blogs are anonymous critic after all is not the real name is it? personally it does not bother me if people used there own names the public would not bother would they? Should we say all names and addresses must be supplied where does it stop.

      I write in my own name so people are aware its me i have a person on the Echo newspaper that signs himself as N Watson but everyone knows i write as Neville Watson its all a game that people do, we all have to be big enough to handle it or columnist will be out of a job.
      Regards Neville.

  5. It is your blog, I can only express my view.

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